A Quick Guide to Staining & Varnishing WoodBefore staining the wood I lightly sand it, dust it off with a brush, then apply a stain. If you're fussy you might lightly wash it off with a rag rather than brush it, but then you'll have to wait until it dries. Wood tends to be very thirsty so don't be alarmed if the first few stains are absorbed away. Often the first attempt turns the wood an off-green colour, but if you persevere after about 3 - 6 coats (waiting for the stain to dry out completely, often overnight & possibly lightly sanding between coats) you'll have finished staining. The more coats you add the more stained the wood will become, so you'll have to use your judgement with that.
To get a dark brown wood, which I call 'Prophet 5', I use a mahogany Brown stain;
Once stained, it's then time to add a coat of varnish. This'll help protect the wood. I'm using a varnish designed for boats, but it seems to work quite well with Synths. I used to use a brush for this, but have found you get better results with a old t-shirt. Just a tiny amount is needed and you'll have to add more layers than with the brush, but overall you'll get a much smoother finish. When using a brush I found it was easy to accidentally add too much and would then have to sand down the excess for an even finish.
The only problem with this varnish is it takes ages to dry, so sometimes overnight isn't long enough. But it gives a great finish to your synths so it's worth the wait.
And that's how I stain and varnish my synths!